Inevitably I got a mixed reaction to posting my recommendations of healthcare social media accounts to follow on Twitter. It’s been an interesting exercise in probing the wisdom of the crowd. I am happy that it has opened a discussion on what constitutes value and meaning in the Twittersphere and I hope it is a discussion that will continue in the new year. I am heartened by the words of Dr Howard Luks, one of the healthcare influencers I most admire, who in a recent post on his blog agrees that “the discussion surrounding key opinion leaders, thought leaders and ‘influencers’ in medicine and healthcare deserves further attention”.
The most vehement reactions came from those who stated that these lists are meaningless – but who defines meaning? Isn’t it as individual as we are? As Dr Luks so rightly states in his blog, “YOU decide who the key opinion leaders are and if our message resonates – and thus offers value.” One person’s meaningless Twitter account is another’s Klout score (this was suggested to me as a more meaningful way to create this kind of list). Again for some this may be how you decide who is worth following on Twitter, but Klout scores are also an imperfect measure of influence. If I chose only to focus on Klout scores, then I would be missing out on some great Twitter accounts. In fact one of the most surprising things I found when creating this list was the low number of followers on some accounts . Some of the accounts I most respect for what they are doing to change the conversation in healthcare have a surprisingly low number of followers – proof once again that quality engagement should never be measured in numbers. By the same token, some of the better-known accounts have huge numbers of followers, but I wonder how many just follow these accounts because everyone else does – ergo they must be influential/meaningful/worth following. Creating this list made me question how meaningful they still are to me. Am I still learning from them? Are they still pushing the boundaries? It is good to review the lists of people you follow every now and again and ask these questions. You might be surprised at the answer you get. Still, we all have to start someplace, and usually we start with the wisdom of the crowd until we find our own individual tribe and our own meaningful level of engagement. I am also of the (subversive) belief that people can make up their own minds who to follow – a list is just a starting point to explore things further for yourself.
And so to list two. I realized very quickly that one list just wasn’t enough. There were some key people missing on my first list because I restricted it to 100 accounts. As I said in a previous post, it was never meant to be a definitive list, nor meant to signify any hierarchical structure. You don’t have to agree with this list either. All I ask is that you keep an open mind as you scan through. Perhaps lurking unnoticed is just the person you have something to learn from this year.
For a more comprehensive list visit http://list.ly/JBBC and add your suggestions there.